This is an image of the good fairies from the upcoming Maleficent movie.
Remember how they were fat, grey-haired, kindly old women in the original Sleeping Beauty? Well, Disney has changed them to cutesy, young, thin fairies in the new movie. What was wrong with the old designs? If Disney wanted to make them younger, that’s fine (I think this is meant to be a prequel of sorts?) But why do they have to be thinner? Why can’t they be cute, young, AND round? It’s so frustrating seeing such awesome and unique character designs turned into the same ol’ generic Tinkerbell-esque look we see in every fairy movie.
Thin privilege is having previously-fat characters intentionally changed into thin characters to make them more appealing for audiences :(
I’m actually really upset about this because I LOVED Merryweather as a kid. She was the first Disney character I ever connected to, and the only Disney character who looked remotely like me and was not a.) evil or b.) a kindly motherly/grandmotherly character. She was a total grump grump and was stubborn and wasn’t afraid to stand up for her opinions, even if it meant people didn’t like her, but even with all that she was devoted to protecting Aurora. In fact, she gave Aurora her gift after the curse, and her gift was the way to break the spell. (And her color was blue, and my favorite color has been blue forever.) Of course, out of the three she was the most comic relief, but just having comic relief be a chubby woman, rather than a chubby man or an animal, was something different and something I could relate to.
When I was little I watched a ton of Disney movies and I always knew that kind of princess narrative could never be mine; I never once identified with any princess or female protagonist, not even Belle. Okay, I did identify with Mulan (gender issues!), but by the time that movie came out I was in 8th grade, so that was a little too late. But the presence of a character like Merryweather was hugely important to me as a chubby, introverted, clumsy little kid who took herself way too seriously, and I’m so furious that this movie is making her thin.
I’m sure this seems like an overreaction and that I’m reading way too much into an animated character but when you’re six and you’re already skipping meals to lose weight, any fat female character who isn’t a victim, a grandmother/mother, or evil makes a difference.